Saturday, January 15, 2011

Running on the Alter-G

When we push our bodies to the limit all the time, something is going to give.  After the workout from the last blog post, I have been struggling with my left achilles tendon.  Although I knew something was up, I kept running on it, last weekend doing a 14 mile long run, a 10 mile tempo, and part of my 5 and 8 mile day on Monday before realizing that something was not right.  I finally let my coach know what was going on and she had me finish my workout on Monday on the bike at her house (while watching the BCS National Championship, and repping my sisters' school, OREGON).

The next 2 days I chugged it out in the pool.  Running in the pool with no aqua belt and with a pair of running shoes on.  Speedo and running shoes: such a hot look!  It gets pretty boring using the deep end part of the lap lane, but it just makes me hungry to get back outside and run!

On Thursday I warmed up in hopes of doing a track work out, but after 20 minutes, my achilles started to seize up and I was sent back to the pool.  Yesterday I was able to run on the Alter-G machine, which is an Anti-Gravity treadmill.

I love this machine because it allows me to RUN through my injury.  Here's how it works:  you put on a pair of neoprene (wet suit material) shorts that have a tutu-like top with a zipper.  Then you step into a big bubble around a treadmill and zip yourself in.  The machine calibrates your weight and then you can begin running.  You can set the weight at as high as 100% (your total body weight) and as low as 20% of your body weight.  I generally run at 90% if I am not injured, but right now I am running at about 75% to take enough pressure off of my achilles while I run. 

Here's how it works, from their website:

Unweighting is achieved in the AlterG by using air in a pressure-controlled chamber to gently lift the user. Precise calibration using our patented technology allows for very specific unweighting from 100-20% of the users body weight in 1% increments. Something no other unweighting modality can do.

Today I am back on the Alter-G for a 90 minute long-run.  I will take my trusty podcasts: This American Life, Fresh Air, Planet Money, and Stuff You Should Know and chug away.  I much prefer the Alter-G to pool running!

I'm doing RICE (Rest Ice Compression and Elevation) and physical therapy for my achilles.  Hopefully it will be healed soon and I can get back on the pavement soon!

One good thing that comes out of injury is that is definitely makes me appreciate running injury-free and motivates me to get back to running and training hard!


  1. You still planning on Houston? Hope you get better soon. Houston is a fast course! I ran my PR there last year in the marathon.

  2. I am sorry to hear that you are injured Kelly! I hope you heal very quickly!

  3. Thanks guys! At least I can still run on the Alter G. I'm still going to do Houston. I think (hope) once I get at least a week off of it, I will be better!

    Brad, I still owe you directions to those flat and snow-free running routes (head to Arizona, haha).

  4. Take care Kelly! It sounds like you are well on your way back to the roads though :)

  5. Hope you are recovering quickly. Army needs you on the starting line.

  6. Kelly, I hope you're feeling better. I love following this blog, you are such an awesome friend & inspiration!